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Jack Zduriencik says Mariners unlikely to be major players for Josh Hamilton

Nov 17, 2012, 8:55 AM EDT

Josh Hamilton Getty Getty Images

Mariners president Chuck Armstrong told Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com earlier this week that the club was weighing making a run at free agent outfielder Josh Hamilton, but general manager Jack Zduriencik downplayed the possibility yesterday.

Zduriencik has spoken to Hamilton’s agent and isn’t ready to say the Mariners are out of the bidding, but he told Greg Johns of MLB.com that his contract demands “might surpass where we’re going to be.”

“You have to be realistic about how you’re going to allocate your dollars,” Zduriencik said. “Some of these things drag out and if you’re sitting there waiting on one chip, other chips in front of you might go away and you end up with nothing.”

“There are a lot of great things to like about several of these guys on the market, and we’re doing our homework,” he said. “But when you hear what players expect and the years involved, that’s a lot to consider. At the end of the day, when you gauge the market, you have to be realistic about where it will end up. And there’s a strong possibility that one will exceed where we’re at.”

This is pretty typical GM-speak, so it’s hardly a declarative statement about their intentions. Hamilton is a unique free agent and carries unique risk, but this isn’t unlike what we have seen with other top free agents in recent years, at least in the early days of the Hot Stove. It seems like nobody wants to be perceived as the front-runner right now.

  1. kiwicricket - Nov 17, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    Well Zduriencik seems fine watching other teams sign hitters up until now. “other chips in front of you might go away and you end up with nothing.” No kidding!
    You cant tell me the Mariners, who have bottom of the barrel, absolute poop juice hitting couldn’t of spent 18M/2yrs on Melky?
    They have cash to spend, why not spend it on a couple decent middling contracts? Not some fantasy magical Cliff Lee trade thing which won’t really help them.

    • proudlycanadian - Nov 17, 2012 at 9:58 AM

      I am sure that they could have afforded Melky, but did Melky want to go there? It is my suspicion that he contacted Toronto after the trade news came out. In Toronto, Melky would not be the big hitting star and would not be the big news. He can re-establish himself with less pressure than there would be on other teams. Money is important, but is not always the deciding factor.

      • kiwicricket - Nov 17, 2012 at 10:14 AM

        Very good point. I didn’t give Melky or his agent any credit for having a brain.
        Hitting behind Reyes and in front of Bautista and E5, one would imagine hes got a pretty good opportunity to pad his basic stats.
        Still, 2yrs/20M offer by the Mariners is hardly anything significant. Being their best hitter would of stood out also.

      • cur68 - Nov 17, 2012 at 1:18 PM

        I bet you’re right, PC. Melky asked in to The Beav and AA said, “Sure! $16 mil/2years, deal?” This way he also gets to play for a likely contender.

  2. willclarkgameface - Nov 17, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    In all likelihood Hamilton will move away from Texas, subtracting him from an already deep roster. This leaves more room for error in off-season signings for all AL West clubs. If the Mariners, who showed real signs of improvement in the second half, choose to go in another direction, I still think they’ll be okay, feasting on the carcass of their new division rival Houston.

    I still predict a 4th place finish, but I see upwards of 85 wins for that team, making this division just about as tough as the AL East.

  3. swu32733 - Nov 17, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    Trader Jack is far more astute at getting rid of talent than in bringing it to Seattle.

    • kiwicricket - Nov 17, 2012 at 12:33 PM

      So inept at finding hitters, he’s decided to bring the fences in.

      • denny65 - Nov 17, 2012 at 6:25 PM

        And don’t forget, the Major’s largest scoreboard! Woot!

        Safeco fans will now be able to see much more clearly how far below the Mendoza Line power-hitting Brendan Ryan is on a daily basis.

  4. purnellmeagrejr - Nov 18, 2012 at 8:16 AM

    Hamilton is a lot like Junior at a certain time in his careeer – outstanding left handed hittting center fielder with power, no?

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